The brightest comet of spring 2024: Best pictures

One of the main astronomical news of recent days is the Pons-Brooks comet. It returns to the Sun after its 71-year “absence”. The comet belongs to the same Neptune family as Halley’s famous comet, but it is even slightly larger in size.

Now the Pons-Brooks comet is rapidly approaching the perihelion of its orbit. Its apparent brightness in the terrestrial sky is gradually increasing and the tailed guest can already be seen with the naked eye. Unsurprisingly, astrophotographers around the world actively use this opportunity to photograph the comet. The editors of The Universe Space Tech have compiled a selection of the most spectacular images of the celestial traveler taken in different parts of the globe.

Pons-Brooks Comet in all its glory

Comet Pons-Brooks as of March 28, 2024, when it was already close to the perihelion of its orbit. The image clearly shows its elongated tail. The characteristic green color is most likely due to the presence of diatomic carbon and cyane molecules in its core. The picture was taken by a professional comet hunter, Austrian astrophotographer Michael Jäger.

Pons-Brooks comet. Source: Michael Jäger

Evolution of the tail of the Pons-Brooks Comet

Comets are among the most dynamic cosmic bodies. They constantly emit matter, and their brightness and tail shape change regularly. This is clearly demonstrated by the following collage showing the evolution of the appearance of the Pons-Brooks comet. It is made up of images taken by the Chinese SARO Observatory between March 6 and 11, 2024.

Evolution of the tail of the Pons-Brooks comet. Source: Arcan Serifoglu

Pons-Brooks Comet and Andromeda galaxy

In many images, the Pons-Brooks comet is adjacent to other celestial bodies. In this image, taken by Swedish astrophotographer Göran Strand, the Andromeda galaxy is also in the frame.

Pons-Brooks comet and the Andromeda galaxy. Source: Göran Strand

Pons-Brooks Comet in the mountains

The Pons-Brooks comet over the Tatra Mountains. The picture was taken by astrophotographer Petr Horálek. It was located at a distance of 11 km from the mountain peaks depicted in the image.

Pons-Brooks comet over the Tatra Mountains. Source: Petr Horálek

Pons-Brooks Comet and Triangle Galaxy

Another picture of the Pons-Brooks comet from Petr Horálek. This time he photographed it in the vicinity of the Slovak village of Zagradne. The Triangle galaxy can also be seen on the right side of the image.

Pons-Brooks Comet and the Triangle Galaxy Source: Petr Horálek

Pons-Brooks Comet and Orange Giant

The Pons-Brooks comet is adjacent in the sky not only to galaxies, but also to stars. In this frame, the star Hamal (Alpha Aries) can be seen next to it. This orange giant is located at a distance of 65 light-years from Earth, its apparent magnitude is slightly inferior to the Polar Star. The picture itself was taken on the territory of the Mexican state of Zacatecas.

Pons-Brooks comet and the Hamal star. Source: Da Ko

Pons-Brooks Comet and Aurora

In recent weeks, the Sun has produced a series of flares that have caused powerful auroras. Photographer Wioleta Gorecka managed to capture the comet against the background of celestial lights.

Pons-Brooks comet against the background of the Aurora. Source: Wioleta Gorecka

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